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Ryan Leeson

Advisor: Dr. Clay Nielsen

Leeson photograph
Efficacy of Lure Crops to Minimize Deer Damage
in Soybean Fields

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are a prevalent edge species that has reached overabundant status throughout much of eastern North America. Deer frequently cause damage to agricultural crops, particularly those bordered by wooded areas. During the growing seasons of 2015 and 2016, I will plant several different lure crops around small soybean plots in southern Illinois to serve as potential buffer zones against deer damage. I will test the effects of different buffer widths on minimizing deer damage and will estimate deer density to relate deer numbers to damage rates. My goal is to determine which buffer crops are both economically feasible and desirable enough to tempt the deer away from the soybean crop, thus simultaneously maintaining a profitable crop and a healthy deer population